5th March – Match reports

Premier Division

Metheringham FC 5

Newton United 2

On what turned out to be a filthy Sunday morning of weather in Metheringham the home side hosted Newton United looking to avenge a 2-1 defeat in February. Meg started on the front foot and went a goal up inside 5 minutes when Jayden Driver released Aaron Harrison on the left and his cross was met on the half volley by Jac Wright just inside the box. 2 minutes later Meg were fortunate when Kyle Thompson headed against his own bar but Newton were level on 20 minutes when a ball was played in from the left which Meg failed to clear and it was tucked home at the back post. Play became end to end as the rain got heavier and the conditions became more difficult. Then in the space of just 2 minutes Meg netted twice to take a 3-1 lead. The first came on the half hour following a Joe Smith free kick which saw the Newton keeper spill the ball and Kyle Thompson put the chance away from close range. Then a minute later, from a build-up on the right, Jac Wright played a square ball across the edge of the box and as Ben Garrick played a step over it ran to Jayden Driver and he rifled home comprehensively to the keeper’s left. 2 minutes later Newton were disallowed a second goal for a foul on a home defender.

In the second half one goal area became almost waterlogged but the game was allowed to continue. With an hour gone Newton were awarded a penalty which was duly netted. Newton then had a good spell where they put the home defence under intense pressure as they sort an equaliser. Having weathered the storm in more ways than one Meg bagged a fourth as Ben Garrick rose to head home a Miles Lynch corner on 75 minutes. Then with 8 minutes left Matt Robinson headed home from a corner, this time taken by Jayden Driver, to complete the scoring.

Scothern United 1

Ivy Tavern 6

The games are coming thick for Ivy now as they play catch up from their early season cup successes which caused the cancellation of several League games on the way. This game saw them visit a Scothern United side who have had an indifferent run of form recently not helped by several key players missing from their side for one reason or another.

On paper this could have been a tricky fixture for the visitors and it was to be played on a boggy pitch which had been in some doubt right up to the day of the game due to the recent rain. The game kicked off with a driving wind blowing to make life difficult for the players of both sides although the Ivy adapted slightly better from the start and just about edged the territorial possession during the early exchanges. The visitors went ahead in the 20th minute after a through ball from Jordan Taylor found Sean Cann who’s first effort was blocked by the keeper but he made no mistake at the second time of asking to give the Ivy a deserved lead. Despite a succession of corners from the hosts, who had the wind advantage in the first half, keeper Rhodes was rarely tested. Just before half time Ivy doubled their lead after a flick on from Joe Mackie fell to Taylor who passed inside to debutant Elliot Dye and his precise through ball sent Cann clear one on one. As often happens he made no mistake from the edge of the box to give the visitors a 2 goal lead going into the break.

As with any 2-0 score line the next goal is often the crucial one and  it was visitors again who got it. Jordan Taylor again lifted a ball into the area to Sean Cann, who chested it down before dribbling around the keeper and sliding home from an acute angle to effectively put the game out of reach. 3-0 soon became 4-0 as this time Mackie played in Cann who came out on top between goalkeeper and defender to coolly roll home into the empty net for his and the Ivy’s fourth.

To their credit Scothern stuck at it and scored a goal of their own from a disputed corner kick award. The corner was swung in and headed home from close range. The Ivy’s response however was immediate as Asplin was sent clear and he rounded the keeper before rolling home into the empty net to register his first goal for the club.

This signalled a triple substitution as Hatton, McGovern and Wilkinson replaced Dye, Ayres and Asplin respectively. The game petered out during the last 10 minutes but there was still time for one more goal. Great persistence from substitute Wilkinson saw him pick the pocket of the right back before taking the ball into the area and slotting under the keeper with his left foot.

Whilst Ivy Tavern saw this game as a potentially tricky fixture they showed their dominance for large periods and the score line reflects this. Craig Rhodes was again in between the sticks for the second consecutive week and again kicked well in difficult conditions without really being troubled. Callum Dye returned to left back and always looked to get on the ball and drive forward down the left hand side. Jordan Curtis patrolled the right hand side and also looked comfortable on the ball whilst moving forward as he is now starting to show the form from last season. Skipper Matty Chenko made his return after a two game absence and partnered up with James Stokes and between the two were dominant in the air and on the deck, not giving their opponent’s front man any opportunity all game.

Once again the game was won in midfield and the management must take great credit for opting to pack the midfield with the trio of Joe Mackie, Jordan Taylor, and Elliot Dye who was making his debut for the club. Between these three the energy and work rate was too much for Scothern with first and second balls were won and distributed accordingly. The wide men also put in a shift between them with Ayres and Asplin always looking to get the ball into the box but not being afraid to track back for the team and stick their foot in.

Sean Cann cut an isolated figure up front but did exactly what he needed to do with some clinical finishing in front of goal which proved crucial. As has been the case so many times this season the whole team played a part. Jamie Hatton came on and gave some extra energy and was unlucky not to get on the score sheet. Johnjo McGovern stepped into the midfield and won his battle, putting his authority on the game with a sliding tackle from the outset. Jack Wilkinson had the final say and took his goal well to cap a complete performance from everyone involved. Next week Ivy are in league action when they travel to Ruston’s United.

Division Two

Waddington United 3

Plough Sturton 1

Will Brothwell’s first goal in senior football capped a terrific best of season performance by Waddington United against a strong Plough Sturton side. Played in atrocious conditions Plough took the lead through Alex Cawkwell but a Chris Greene free kick, which kept low, restored parity to make it one each.

Waddington created the better chances in the second half and it took a superb save by Plough’s keeper, Spencer Bembridge, to deny the ageless Jason Brothwell when he found himself through one on one on goal. Waddington did take the lead however and it came from a classic Ross Dalton finish, from just 3 yards out off his shin. Plough continued to threaten at the other end but Will Brothwell’s far post effort was wide of the target following a telling cross from Green’s free kick. The more senior Brothwell, Jason, wasted a golden opportunity to extend the lead after being set up by son Will but with 12 minutes remaining Brothwell Junior showed his Dad how it should be done with a brilliant finish from a narrow angle to the left of the goal. To say that he was mobbed by his team mates was an understatement!

Plough continued to push for something from the game and 7 minutes from time looked to have narrowed the arrears but the goal was ruled out for offside. Plough finished the stronger side but Waddington held out for the points and a 3-1 victory.

 Division Three

Dynamo Varsity 3

Fox & Hounds FC  3

The game began with Varsity starting on the front foot and in complete which resulted in them taking the lead when Sam Wade hammered home at the back post after a nice passing move. This lead was then doubled after 20 minutes when Josh Hayes found Vincent Van Doninick who calmly finished to double the home sides lead. After such a poor start most sides heads would drop but the Fox found themselves back in the game on the half hour mark when a fantastic half volley was lobbed over the head of Adam Tollerton in the Varsity goal. The rain then began to pour much to the discomfort of most involved but Varsity soon had something to cheer about in the treacherous conditions when Van Doninick was crudely fouled in the penalty area. Sam Joyce needed no second invitation powering his penalty into the bottom corner to restore the home sides two goal lead.  Fox and Hounds though again came back and reduced the deficit just before half time after some pinball in the Varsity box, with the visiting striker finding the bottom corner.

The second half began with the pitch getting worse, something that appeared to suit the away side, and they began to turn the game in their favour with a committed display that gave Varsity no time on the ball. They were rewarded for their endeavours on the hour when their striker nipped in ahead of keeper Tollerton to equalise. The away side were now firmly on top and probably should have gone on to win the game, but it was Varsity who would have one final chance when good work down the right from Sam Joyce found Aiden Vaughan unmarked in the middle with the Varsity captain turning home. Unfortunately for them the Assistant had his flag raised and the goal was ruled out meaning the points would be shared in a game where both sides dominated a half.

Varsity’s Man of the Match was Josh Hayes.

Division Three

 Turks Head 5

Cherry Willingham 4

The 3rd meeting this season between these two sides saw an action packed game played out at Heighington. Heavy rain right on kick off saw both defences struggle early on, but quick fire strikes from both teams saw the score at 2-2 after only 20 minutes. Veteran midfielder Danny Dixon opened his account and top-scorer Steve Foley got the second of the home sides goals. Another well taken goal from Foley, this time with his head, sent the hosts into half time on top at 3-2.

Sensing that 3 goals might well not be enough against the league’s most prolific scorers Turks pressed on for a fourth. Almost straight from the kick off Tom O’Rourke was inches from heading in an inviting cross from left winger Chris Egan, and then soon after substitute Nick Prowse saw an excellent curling effort from the edge of the area canon back off the post with the ‘keeper well beaten. Despite this pressure Cherry held firm and then soon found themselves level again when fullback Ben Fenton blocked a cross but unfortunately found the bottom corner of his own goal for 3-3. The game then swung back in favour of the hosts, winger O’Rourke continuing his fine recent form in front of goal with a powerful close range finish to make it 4-3. Almost inevitably the game was then levelled again, Cherry skipper Aaron Bee squeezing an accurate penalty just under Turks ‘keeper Martin Ziller following a reckless lunge from Fenton inside his own area. The hosts however were to have the last word. The referee awarded his second penalty of the game for a late swipe by a visiting defender on Foley and Tom O’Rourke proved to be as deadly as ever from 12 yards. Turks, who hung on for the win, have certainly got over their recent slump in the cups with this fine win over very decent opposition.

Division Four

AFC Golden Eagle 0

Coningsby FC 2

Both teams took to the pitch knowing that 3 points for AFC Golden Eagle would put them in pole position to take the title. From the first whistle the heavens opened and both sides knew that they were in for a wet and muddy battle. The game build up didn’t disappoint and both teams went at it from the off, Eagle edging it in the first 10 minutes in terms of possession. Coningsby grew into the game and found their feet whilst playing some good football. They started to create some good chances as they looked for the opening goal of the contest. As Coningsby pushed on looking for the opener Eagle posed a real threat on the counter attack looking to launch the ball forward to their wingers at every opportunity.

The opening goal came for the visitors from a corner, Stu Thomson whipping the ball in for centre back Ben Haith to nod home. The remainder of the half saw some good counter attacking football from both sides but with no end product.

A rejuvenated and re-shuffled Eagle came out and started the second half on the front foot, similar to the first half, and they dominated for the first 10 minutes. As Coningsby gained their confidence they changed their play, trying to exploit the space at the back left by Eagle as they pushed for an equaliser. The ball broke kindly for Thomas Sewell who hit a shot from 20 yards only to see it rattle the crossbar and bounce to safety. Both teams continued to counter each other, with dogged defending keeping the score at 1-0, however Captain Ben Brown found himself free in the 18 yard box and managed to side step a defender before smashing the ball low and hard into the bottom left hand corner to give the visitors a priceless 2 goal advantage. With 5 minutes left on the clock Eagle pushed all the way right to the last second, but on this occasion it wasn’t meant to be and the visitors went home with the points, and the pleasure of replacing their opponents at the head of the League table.

Ian Stephenson